“Does the white man understand our customs?
How can he when he does not even speak our tongue? But he says that our customs are bad, and our own brothers who have taken up his religion also say that our customs are bad. How do you think we can fight when our own brothers have turned against us? The white man is very clever. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay.
Now he has won our brothers, and our clan no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart” Chinua Achebe (Things fall apart).
“if a man does away with his traditional way of living and throws away his good customs, he had better first make
certain that he has something of value to replace them” - Basuto Proverb Robert C. Ruark (Something of Value).
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Following the arrival of the white man, many Kenyan communities abandoned their cultures and embraced western ways.
Using cunning, trickery and coercion, the white man was able to get Africans to turn their back on their own cultures. Early colonists knew that if Africans remained steadfast to their cultures, they would find it extremely difficult to control them. As a result, African cultures were labelled primitive and backward. And soon, the core of
African culture - religion - was attacked.
Once the African embraced western religion, it became quite easy to submit to the white man. Education and salvation became the new symbols of status and power.
This book, Mutiiri Mutaarani, is written in Kikuyu and focuses on the traditional customs and beliefs of the Agikuyu community,